Principles of New Media Essay

  1. Numerical representation is applied in our (me & Celine) project.

“Media becomes programmable”, “Converting continuous data into a numerical representation is called digitalised.

The biggest component of our project is the coding part. One of the coding part is the steps of game (refers to the number of time the button is smash) which have been converted into numerical representation in Arduino. Other than that, the sound will also be a numerical representation/digitalised version in Arduino. 

  1. Modularity is applied in our project too.

“Because all elements are stored independently, they can be modified at any time without having to change the Director “movie” itself.”

An example of modularity, in our project, is coding. In coding, there is a systematic way to input the code where the setup will be the base of our code, followed by the loop. Within that loop, there are smaller loop in it. Hence it is similar to a tree branching out its leaves. Having the code in this systematic and modular way, it is easier to edit, delete, substitute or add new things in it without changing the whole coding.

  1. Automation is not applied in our project.

For automation, it requires computer programming to be there to assist user. Example in games such as Sims, where “high level” automation of media creation is used. In games like this, it requires the computer to understand the choices player make and most objects in the games are generated with programming. 

Sims – mobile version

For our project, automation is not applied because there is no computer programming to assist user while playing the game.

  1. Variability is applied to a certain extend

Firstly, information about the user can be use by the computer program to customise automatically the media composition. For our project, the computer program only takes in the number of time the user smash the button hence lighting up the bulb. 

Secondly, branching type interactivity. In our coding, me and Celine have already branch out how the game will be like. On the prototype, there are 2 button smashing station and user are allow to pick their station. Depending on which station they pick, they will end up either having the easier way to win or the harder way. This also depends on the branching in the coding. 

Thirdly, scalability in terms of the level of the bulb. The faster and more the user smash the button, the bulb will light up to represent which level the user is at. Also, depending on the station they picked, either user get an easy way to a higher level or a harder way to a higher level. 

In conclusion, our project is more towards the closed interactivity, where fixed elements arranged in a fixed branching structure. An example: a player picks a station > start smashing the button > every 20 time he smash the button, one bulb will light up > continue smashing > all bulb light up before the other station = win. This example shows a fixed branching structure where there is only one way to the end. Hence user do not have much freedom in controlling the variability in our project. 

  1. Transcoding is applied in our project. 

“In new media lingo, to “transcode” something is to translate it into another format.”

To my understanding, cultural layer refers to old media using analog and mechanical engineering. While for computer layer, it refers to how new media often uses digitalisation in their work such as programming. 

Bishi Bashi Arcade Game

In my opinion, our project differs from Bishi Bashi Arcade Game because Bishi Bashi Arcade Game is a one branch interactivity where the user smash the buttons to get the highest point. Previous player and the next player will have similar experience in playing Bishi Bashi. But for our project, we programmed it in a way that the experience of game are made differently from each player. So, each player will insert the token/s, and depending on the number of token/s they insert, the game station is programmed to which chose for them wether its easy to win or harder to win. 

Research Critique 1 – Interactivity

Project: Facebook (2019)
Designer: Lim Si Ping (Handson)

“With the proliferation of social networks and data tracking, the wisdom of computer algorithms and surveillance mobs has been elevated over the locked-in immortality of individual.” – Handson

Facebook (2019), an interactive book that was designed by Lim Si Ping (aka Handson). As you browse through this interactive book for the first time, the camera uses facial recognition to pair your profile with data tracked through search engines. The book draws a back-end algorithm and fills in the blank of the narrative with your name, age, gender, location, and birth date. With a turn of each page, the story unfolds, making you the protagonist of this story. 

In previous lesson, we discussed that reading is a form of interactivity. However it is a low degree of interactivity in terms of participation, control, etc. As compare to Facebook (2019), this interactive book injects user into the narrative plot, allowing user to participate as a protagonist and creating a storyline based on their personal data that has been publicise online. Both the normal book and the interactive book has similar control such as flipping the book. However the outcomes are different. For a normal book, the outcome of the story has been guided by the narrative. But for the interactive book, the outcome changes depending on the user and data that has being gathered, creating their own unique narrative. Hence, for the interactive book, audience have control over the outcome of this interactive book, unlike the normal reading. 

In short, 

  1. Why do I find this artwork or project intriguing? Because each person who interact with Facebook (2019) will have their own narrative based on their personal data that has been publicise online. 
  2. What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer? Firstly, there will be a facial recognition to pair your profile and data tracking through search engines. Then user will start to flip the pages. As they flip a page, they will be reading about themselves.
  3. What is the intention of this interaction? Allowing user to be real-time protagonist of the story, and to see how their personal data can be found easily online. 
  4. What is the role of the viewer? Interact, read the book and find themselves as part of the story. 
  5. Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience? Audience!

Project: Pulse Index
Designer: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

“We live in an era where a fingerprint lets you into your country, or it lets you into your phone,” says Rafael Lozano-Hemmer “But how can we pervert that? How can we misuse these technologies of control to create connective, poetic or critical experiences? That’s what this show is about.” (refers to Pulse Room exhibition) 

Pulse Index, is a biometric installation which is part of the Pulse Room exhibition. In this installation, it records participants’ fingerprints and heart rates at the same time. The piece displays data for the last 10,925 participants, and it creates a spiral room of skin.

To participate, visitors will place their finger into a custom made sensor equipped with a digital microscope and a pulsimeter. Their fingerprint will then immediately appears on the largest cell of the display, pulsating to their heartbeat alongside the heartbeats and fingerprints of others. As more visitors try the piece, one’s own recording travels sideways and is reduced in size until it disappears altogether — a kind of memento mori. 

“We call it a memento mori, because it’s just a reminder that we’re here for just a little bit of time,” says the artist.


I find this project intriguing because of the concept behind it — Heartbeat as an involuntary action & Participation of audience. 

Heartbeat as an involuntary action

Rafael Lozano was inspired by the ultrasound of his twin babies during his wife pregnancy, and how it will sound when both babies heartbeat are heard at the same time. In one of his talk, he mention that heartbeat is something that we can’t control, it is these involuntary spasms that makes it beautiful. With this, my take away from his work is that interactive media project does not only applies to voluntary behaviours, such as raising your hand, walking near or away from it. It can also be something involuntary such as blinking and breathing.

Participation of audience

Lozano-Hemmer’s work depends on audience participation to exist. It is a crucial part in making the work interactive, and to encourage public to be part of the art and reflect on the unavoidable and playful technological experience. Since his earlier works, he has been incorporating audience and allowing them to contribute into his work. An example of his earlier work is Vectorial Elevation, 1999, which allows audience to design their own light sculptures and it will be executed real life in Mexico City. For Pulse Index, audience is needed to create a whole display which consist of fingerprints and the sound of our pulse. Each audience plays a role in activating and developing it to create memento mori effect. Without the participation of audience, the work would not exist and develop. Hence it would not be an interactive work. 

In short, 

  1. Why do you find this artwork or project intriguing? Because of the concept behind it Heartbeat as an involuntary action & Participation of audience
  2. What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer? A small device for audience to insert their thumbprint and it will record their heartbeat, the projecting it into a large screen with other people thumbprint and heartbeat.  
  3. What is the intention of this interaction? It is about the collaboration between audience 
  4. What is the role of the viewer? The role of the viewer is to make the work exist and develop from there. 
  5. Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience? Audience, a lot of them! 


  1. How are both projects differ from each other? 
  2. In Pulse Index, does memento mori serve as a limitation? 


Through Maria X’s keynote and examples shown, I realize that there was a trend in Telematics Performance from 1970s to 2000s .

All of the Telematics performances are interactive and liveliness, as it include audience to be part of the performances. 2 ways that audience can be part of the performance. Firstly, is they themselves become the performer. Secondly, chatting in the chat room. Example in Adobe Connect, where we see artist performing and yet we can converse to one another.

Hole In Space by Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowits, 1980

A trend that I notice is the life-size projection. Ever since the Hole in space, by Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowits, in 1980, becomes a popular telematics work, many future telematic work incorporate this life-size projection. Through the life-size projection, it creates new form of communication and interactivity between people from another part of the world. This collapse the geographical boundaries. Another example is Paul Semon, Telematic Dreaming and Telematic Vision, 1993. In both of his works, he uses a life-size projection of the object and the audience, making it look real in virtual space. This creates a one-to-one performance, where both audience can observe and react to each other movements and create a closer bond among themselves.

Telematic Dreaming by Paul Sermon, 1993
“The ability to access outside of the user own space and time is created by another real sense of touch, but it is enhance by context of the bed.” - Paul Sermon

Another thing that I notice is the use of spaces and props. Going towards the 1990s, the use of props became one of the important things that contributed to a work, as space was already part of telematics performance.  An example would be Paul Semon, Telematic Dreaming, 1993. In this work, he uses intimate environment, which move the audience from a public space to a private space with the use of props, which is the bed. Another example, would be Annie Abrahams, Entanglement, 2018. In her work, she and the artists used objects, voice and phrases to communicate the idea of her telematic performances.

Hence, through this symposium, my definition of props has changed. Previously, I thought that props has to be a physical object that contributes to the work. Now, props mean that it can be anything (not only physical object) that contributes to my work  such as sound, words and movements.

Objects in Annie Abraham, Entaglement, 2018
Annie Abrahams, Entanglement, 2018

Personally, I prefer Annie Abrahams’ performance than Jon Cates’ performance because her performance was neat and easy to see all the artist performing.

At first I could not understand the idea behind her performance. After rewatching it again, it gives me a better understand of what she and the artists are trying to convey.

Artists are with the blue border are saying excellent

They start the performance with a blank screen, and everyone was saying excellent. When a person says something, his/her screen will light up and have a blue border (image above). Its shows that there is an inconsistency.

I like how Annie gives freedom to her fellow artists to perform this work. Like she did not constraint and force them to say a particular phrase or show a particular objects. Living in the 21st century, I think that we would want our freedom, the choice to speak up for ourselves.

Another thing is that, I like is how Annie is open to new people. In her other performances, she welcomed new artist to collaborate with her despite not meeting each other physically in a place. This shows the power of third space, where artist can collaborate and enhance their network circle.